Report: Ken Jennings Likely Lost Chance at ‘Jeopardy!’ Gig over Toxic Tweets

This image released by ABS shows contestant Ken Jennings with a trophy on "JEOPARDY! The Greatest of All Time." Jennings will be the first interim guest for the late Alex Trebek, and the show will try other guest hosts before naming a permanent replacement. (Eric McCandless/ABC via AP)
Eric McCandless/ABC via AP

Like a broken clock (right twice a day), Cancel Culture can occasionally find a deserving target.

According to a report, Jeopardy! champ Ken Jennings was nixed for consideration as a permanent host for the game show because of his long history of hateful social media posts.

Jennings’ attempts at edgy tweets go back at least as far as 2014, but most recently, he was slammed for a 2018 post lamenting when a “hot person” is a wheelchair user — as though being in a wheelchair somehow wastes their beauty.

Last December, Jennings apologized for the tweet, saying, “Hey, I just wanted to own up to the fact that over the years on Twitter, I’ve definitely tweeted some unartful [sic] and insensitive things.” He added, “Sometimes they worked as jokes in my head, and I was dismayed to see how they read on screen.”

Apparently, this tweet and many others soured Jeopardy! producers on choosing Jennings as the show’s new, permanent host to replace the recently deceased Alex Trebek.

People familiar with the selection process told the Wall Street Journal that his long history of toxic snark tarnished Jennings’ reputation. The paper also reported that the tweets impacted focus group reactions to Jennings, and his “succession plan started unraveling” as a result.

The tweet about disabled people was not the only hateful thing Jennings ever said on Twitter. The game show champ also sparked controversy after trying to defend a comedian who, in his own words, had posted “racist, anti-Semitic, hurtful, and slur-filled tweets.”

Further, like many others in Hollywood, Jennings constantly tweeted attacks on Donald Trump, Trump’s family, and supporters. In 2017, for instance, he mocked Donald Trump’s then-13-year-old son, Barron.

“Barron Trump saw a very long necktie on a heap of expired deli meat in a dumpster. He thought it was his dad & his little heart is breaking,” Jennings “unartfully” tweeted — parodying reports that Kathy Griffin’s mock beheading of President Trump had upset the child.

Also, as far back as 2014, Jennings mocked the death of the father of Breitbart News, Andrew Breitbart. Right after Andrew died of a heart attack, Jennings wrote, “Make sure you sign up for Obamacare today! lol I was so dumb in mortal life, what was I thinking you guys?” He then signed the post as coming from “Andrew Breitbart’s ghost.”

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